I love technology as much as the next person.  Yet, when it comes time to pick a cell phone, I always end up with the model that has the fewest features.  No “smart phone” for me.  Why?

  • Price – Those extra features cost money.  You pay more for the phone, and you pay more for data plans.  Honestly, I don’t spend a lot of “quality time” with my phone, so it’s really not worth the extra cost.  Seriously, I can wait until I get home to check Facebook.
  • Battery life – Those extra features also drain the battery.  My current phone will last about five days between charges.  Honestly, I’d sacrifice some features of the phone if I could squeeze an extra day or two out of the battery.

So, what do I look for in a cell phone, then?

  • Battery life – As mentioned above, I’m always concerned about battery life.  That’s the second thing I look for in the details about a phone (price being first).  If the battery life isn’t at least 100 hours on standby, I won’t consider the phone.
  • Incoming text messages – This is a pretty standard feature any more, but that wasn’t always the case in the past.  I keep up with sports and a few other things via 4Info’s free text messages.
  • A card game – Every now and then, I do find myself with time to kill and nothing but my cell phone to entertain me.  Blackjack is my favorite of the card games, but Poker works pretty well, too.  My current phone has a demo of a poker game.  It lets me play two hands before quitting.  That’s good enough for me, since I rarely play more than a half dozen hands at a time.  Despite not being an expert player, I somehow turned by starting bankroll of $1500 into $20,000.  I suspect that the computer players are really bad.
  • No flip phone – I absolutely hate flip phones.  I much prefer the “candy bar” style.  For the better part of a decade, I used a few different Kyocera models.  My current carrier doesn’t carry Kyocera, so I have a Samsung A-737.  The Samsung is a slider, which I don’t like as much as the candy bar phones, but prefer to the flip phones.

I’m frugal when it comes to my cell phone.  Here are a few more money saving tips.

  • Check for discounts – Nearly every national carrier provides discounts for my company’s empoyees.  The lone holdout seems to be US Cellular.  I actually prefer US Cellular’s service, but withouth the discount, they are a bit more expensive than most other companies.
  • Record your own ring tones – A lot of money is spent on downloaded ring tones every year.  But with the right software, you can easily record your own ring tones.  Take an MP3 and use something like Audacity to take out the best chunk of the song and use it as a ring tone.  I have a rather extensive collection of MP3 (legally obtained from my own CDs) and have created quite a few ringtones.  Currently, my ringtone is Runaway by Love and Theft, and my morning alarm is 1969 by Keith Stegall.  In the past, I’ve used Hello, Goodbye from The Beatles, for obvious reasons.
  • Buy accessories online – Whether it is a car charger or a carrying case (a holster, in my case), I buy accessories online.  You pay a fraction of the cost for an identical item.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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